Axminster railway station

Axminster railway station serves the town of Axminster in Devon, England. It is operated by South Western Railway and is situated on the West of England Main Line. It is 144 miles 41 chains (232.6 km) down the line from London Waterloo.

National Rail
General information
LocationAxminster, East Devon
Coordinates50°46′44″N 3°00′18″W / 50.779°N 3.005°W / 50.779; -3.005
Grid referenceSY292982
Managed bySouth Western Railway
Other information
Station codeAXM
ClassificationDfT category D
Original companyLondon and South Western Railway
Post-groupingSouthern Railway
Key dates
1903Lyme Regis branch opened
1965Lyme Regis branch closed
1967Line singled
2009Second platform reopened
2017/18Increase 0.399 million
2018/19Decrease 0.384 million
2019/20Decrease 0.378 million
2020/21Decrease 0.142 million
2021/22Increase 0.304 million
Passenger statistics from the Office of Rail and Road


The station in the early years of the twentieth century.

The station opened on 19 July 1860 by LSWR with its Exeter Extension from Yeovil Junction to Exeter Queen Street. Main offices and a goods shed were east of the line and a small engine shed existed for the locomotive kept here to help early trains up the 1-in-80 (1.25%) climb through Seaton Junction to Honiton. A signal box was built in 1875 (at the south end of the westbound platform).[1][page needed]

The established service pattern was interposed express trains between London Waterloo and other Devon final destinations or Cornwall and local services between Salisbury or Yeovil and Exeter. In 1903 Axminster became a junction when the Lyme Regis branch line was opened. A bay platform (terminus) was built (on the west side) yet the branch climbed at 1 in 80 (1.25%) to cross the main line south of the station by a bridge. A short 1-in-40 connection ran from the goods yard directly to the branch removed in 1915. The engine shed was demolished to make room for the new branch, but a new coal stage and water tank was built next to the terminus. The lever frame in the signal box was extended in 1903 to accommodate the new line, and three years later full signalling on the branch required the building to be extended.[1][page needed]

In 1923 the LSWR became part of the Southern Railway during the Grouping of 1923. The platforms were lengthened in the 1930s to accommodate longer trains[2][page needed] and the new Axminster Carpets factory making Axminster carpets opened alongside the goods yard in 1937.[1][page needed]

On 1 January 1948 the Southern Railway was nationalised to become the Southern Region of British Railways. January 1963 saw all the lines in the area transferred to the Western Region and this was soon followed by the Reshaping of British Railways report. On 29 November 1965 the Lyme Regis branch line was closed; goods traffic had been withdrawn in 1960. On 11 June 1967 the main line was rationalised[1][page needed] – Axminster was now in the middle of a 15.26 miles (24.56 km) single-track section between Chard Junction and Honiton.[3]

In the late 1980s the line found itself part of British Rail's Network SouthEast sector, which invested in new Class 159 trains[1][page needed] and extended the platform southwards[2][page needed] to remove the need of passengers to pass beneath a narrow bridge arch to reach the 1930s extension at the north end of the site. The privatisation of British Rail in the 1990s saw the line and station franchised to South West Trains.

Work started February 2009 on a £20 million project which included building a new platform on the site of the disused platform, installing a new footbridge, lifts and waiting shelter, strengthening seven bridges and 20 culverts, installing 12 new signals, replacing three miles of signal cables and modernising the signalling panel at Chard Junction signal box and completed that December with a 3-mile (4.8 km) passing loop incorporating the station tracks. This allowed the previous sparse, irregular timetable[4] to be replaced with a regular hourly frequency; trains being timetabled to pass at Axminster.[5][6]

The small building at the end of the main platform since 2009 reopened as a café, situated in the old parcels office.[2]

Since December 2012 Rail Gourmet UK has had its satellite (auxiliary) service centre on site. An at-seat catering service serves many services from Axminster to Waterloo by hosts based at Axminster on morning train services. The service centre doubles as a turn-around station for its staff based at Salisbury.[citation needed]


  • James McLees 1860[7] - 1863 (afterwards station master at Honiton)
  • George R. Stevens 1878 - 1902[8] (formerly station master at Lympstone)
  • W.J. Ball 1903 - 1906[9] (formerly station master at Torrington)
  • Frederick Reuben Heath 1906 - 1909[10] (formerly station master at Botley, afterwards station master at Wadebridge)
  • Harry Hother 1909 - 1919[11] (formerly station master at Wadebridge)
  • Arthur J. Hatyer 1926 - 1934[12] (formerly station master at Seaton Junction)
  • J. Budd 1934[13] - 1938 (formerly station master at Parkstone)
  • Walter James Grayer 1938[14] - ca. 1950


The station is on the west/south-west edge of the compact but linear town centre.

The main building was designed by the LSWR's architect Sir William Tite and Edward Clifton in mock gothic style.[15][page needed] Immediately south of the main building is the 2009-built footbridge between the two platforms. Unusually trains ran on the right but in late 2012, this was reversed: trains now run on the left.[citation needed]


Off-peak, all services at Axminster are operated by South Western Railway using Class 158 and 159 DMUs.

The typical off-peak service in trains per hour is:[16]

The station is also served by a single weekday peak hour service from Barnstaple which terminates at Axminster. This service is operated by Great Western Railway.[17]

Preceding station   National Rail Following station
Crewkerne   South Western Railway
TerminusGreat Western Railway
Limited Service
  Historical railways  
Chard Junction
Line open, station closed
  British Rail
Western Region

  Seaton Junction
Line open, station closed
Disused railways
Terminus   British Rail
Western Region

Line and station closed

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e Phillips, Derek; Pryer, George (1997). The Salisbury to Exeter Line. Sparkford: Oxford Publishing Company. ISBN 0-86093-525-6.
  2. ^ a b c Oakley, Mike (2007). Devon Railway Stations. Wimbourne: The Dovecote Press. ISBN 978-1-904349-55-6.
  3. ^ Jacobs, Gerald (2005). Railway Track Diagrams Book 3: Western. Bradford-on-Avon: Trackmaps. maps 17B, 17C. ISBN 0-9549866-1-X.
  4. ^ Table 160 National Rail timetable, May 2009
  5. ^ Table 160 National Rail timetable, December 2009
  6. ^ Network Rail (2 February 2009). "REDOUBLING AT AXMINSTER BEGINS" (Press release). Archived from the original on 7 August 2011.
  7. ^ "1851-1924 No.2. Salaried Staff". London and South Western Railway: 773. 1851. Retrieved 3 July 2021.
  8. ^ "Funeral of Mr. Stevens of Axminster". Chard and Ilminster News. England. 13 December 1902. Retrieved 17 July 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  9. ^ "Death of Axminster Stationmaster". Western Times. England. 12 February 1906. Retrieved 17 July 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  10. ^ "1839-1920 Clerical Staff". London and South Western Railway: 151. 1839. Retrieved 18 July 2021.
  11. ^ "Mr. H. Hother". Exeter and Plymouth Gazette. England. 16 October 1919. Retrieved 17 July 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  12. ^ "46 years' rail service". Western Times. England. 16 March 1934. Retrieved 17 July 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  13. ^ "Axminster". Western Times. England. 25 May 1934. Retrieved 17 July 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  14. ^ "Eggesford Stationmaster leaving for Axminster". Western Times. England. 8 April 1938. Retrieved 17 July 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  15. ^ Pevsner, Nikolaus; Cherry, Bridget (January 2002). The Buildings of England. Devon. Yale University Press. p. 143. ISBN 9780300095968.
  16. ^ Table 160 National Rail timetable, May 2022
  17. ^ "Train times: Exeter to Barnstaple and Okehampton" (PDF). Great Western Railway. Retrieved 16 May 2022.

External linksEdit